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The Manitou by Graham Masterton – Book Review by Horror Writer, A.R. Braun

The Manitou is definitely Graham Masterton’s bread-and-butter, the series being the best books he’s ever written. He went on to write many great novels, a total of 101 in all!

In 1976’s The Manitou, based in San Francisco, something is growing on the back of an attractive woman named Karen Tandy’s neck—perceived as a tumor—which baffles her doctors.

Desperate for help, the good docs bring in a charlatan psychic named Harry Erskine—an unlikely hero who’s the perfect protagonist—as a paranormal investigator. Erskine helps the doctors discover that an ancient Native-American medicine man named Misquamacus, the most powerful Shaman ever, is back to seek revenge against the white man for stealing his country, as well as other atrocities. Reborn from a neck, the Native American is squat, has stunted limbs, but is none the less powerful. Able to call up the most powerful demons in the world who can’t be exercised by Christianity because they were before Christ, the shaman’s chief demon is a squid spirit and, yes, I believe it’s Cthulhu.

This infernal medicine man is feared by all as the body count rises. Everything in the world has a Manitou, a Native-American spirit, and Harry and the good doctors call upon a modern-day Shaman named John Singing Rock for help, definitely less powerful than Misquamacus. They battle and wrack their brains to come up with the best modern Manitou to fight the insidious shaman.

Will they be able to stop the carnage so vehement it’ll be mass-murder? Or will they end up butchered, like the cops in the elevator?

This novel was ten times better than I expected it to be, and I highly recommend this gem, plus the sequels, which are all great. You’d better hope Native-American spirits don’t come looking for revenge!

A.R. Braun on Mind on Fire Books

Review by Horror Writer, A.R. Braun. You can check out his latest Novel, “Dogman of Illinois, here.

A.R. Braun will also be featured on our anthology Mad Men, available for presale now.


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I Told You So – 11 Orwellian Quotes About War and Power

Orwell hated his fellow intellectuals, whom he accused of a range of sins: a lack of patriotism, resentment of money and physical vigor, concealed sexual frustration, pretension, and dishonesty. He loved “the ordinary person” and the lives led by those “not especially blessed by material goods, people who work in ordinary jobs, who don’t have much of an education, who won’t achieve greatness, and who nevertheless love, care for others, work, have fun, raise children, and have large thoughts about the deepest questions in ways Orwell thought especially admirable.

His novels, “1984” and “Animal Farm” were written out of disdain for his fellow intellectuals, reflecting his shortcomings in life. Here are 10 quotes that are still relevant today, more than a half a century after his works were published.

“Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.”

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

“Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me.”

“Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.”

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

George Orwell quotes for Mind on Fire Books

“Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

“Liberal: a power worshiper without power.”

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

Big Brother art for Mind on Fire Books

“War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.”

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”

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Thank you for reading, you can find more about the distribution of power and war by reading Racism as a Governing Apparatus or Fidel Castro VS Shakespeare.

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Synopsis of “The Plague” by Albert Camus

There is no more important book to understand our times than Albert Camus’s The Plague, a novel about a virus that spreads uncontrollably from animals to humans and ends up destroying half the population of a representative modern town. Camus speaks to us now not because he was a magical seer, but because he correctly sized up human nature. As he wrote: ‘Everyone has inside it himself this plague, because no one in the world, no one, can ever be immune.’

Watch this quick synopsis produced by The School of Life:

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Bukowski Quotes

Bukowski wrote that, “Sadness is caused by intelligence, the more you understand certain things, the more you wish you didn’t understand them.”

In his honor, here are his best quotes!

1) “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts. While the stupid ones are full of confidence.” – Charles Bukowski

2) “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.” – Charles Bukowski

Bukowski Quotes for Mind on Fire Books

3)  “Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski

4) “I wasn’t much for a petty thief. I wanted the whole world or nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

5) “You’ve to die a few times before you actually live.” – Charles Bukowski

6) “Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” 

7) “We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.” 

8) “The less I needed, the better I felt.” – Charles Bukowski

9) “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” – Charles Bukowski

(We have a funny Hemmingway joke for you 🙂 )

Bukowski quote for mind on fire books

10) “If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.” – Charles Bukowski

11) “We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing. ” 

12) “The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.” 

13) “The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you.”  

14) “We must.. We must bring our own light to the darkness” – Charles Bukowski

15) “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” ― Charles Bukowski


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Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature.

Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller which causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all man and woman. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.
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Pandemic Reading List

The following Pandemic Reading list of books are our literary picks addressing race, love, dominant governments, and the effects of a plague.

Sure, you’ve read article after article and watched countless you tube videos about COVID and the Spanish Flu of 1917 – we’re all experts by now. But have you actually read anything of sustenance, with brilliant characters, exceptional prose and in-depth analysis of why we live and die, and how communities navigate through such perils? 

The following list of books are our literary picks, addressing questions of race, love, death and dominant governments, and the effect on national borders after a plague hits. Authors include Mary Shelley, Albert Camus, Daniel Defoe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Yuri Hererra, Michael Crichton, and more.

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years,’ by Sonia Shah

“Sonia Shah’s tour-de-force history of malaria will convince you that the real soundtrack to our collective fate … is the syncopated whine-slap, whine-slap of man and mosquito duking it out over the eons,” Abigail Zuger wrote in The Times.

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (1722)

From 1665 to 1666, bubonic plague returned to Britain and devastated the city of London — killing roughly one quarter of its population in the span of 18 months. “[I]t was generally in such houses that we heard the most dismal shrieks and outcries of the poor people, terrified and even frighted to death by the sight of the condition of their dearest relations, and by the terror of being imprisoned as they were.”

Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter (1939)

Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider is set around the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 and focuses on a young woman falling in love with a soldier, as both influenza and World War I loom ominously. As novelist Alice McDermott makes clear in her commentary on the novel, it’s a book that hasn’t lost its contemporary resonance.

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The Plague by Albert Camus (1947)

As befits a novel with the archetypal title The Plague, there are multiple ways one can interpret Camus’s 1947 work. Writing in the Guardian in 2015, journalist and war correspondent Ed Vulliamy contends it can be read in two ways: first, as a metaphor for the horrors of fascism; and second, as an allusion to a cholera epidemic in Algeria in 1849.

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (1969)

A group of scientists deal with an epidemic caused by an extraterrestrial microorganism — one that’s constantly evolving and has no precedent in human history.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985)

“Plagues are like imponderable dangers that surprise people,” Gabriel García Márquez told the New York Times in 1988. “They seem to have a quality of destiny.” In the same interview, he spoke of his fondness for Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, and how it was one of the inspirations for this decades-spanning tale of star-crossed lovers, where death is never far from the reader’s mind.

Journal of the Plague Years by Norman Spinrad (1988)

The novel uses a widespread outbreak of a constantly mutating virus to critique conservative responses to HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. “For twenty years, sex and death were inexorably intertwined,” writes an fictional editor at the beginning of Spinrad’s book — what follows are an arrangement of voices, each struggling with literal questions of life and death.

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Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin (1994)

“Over time I have realized that the disease comes in spurts,” writes the narrator of Bellatin’s short novel Beauty Salon. It’s set in a world devastated by a pandemic affecting only men, leading to their rapid deaths in the face of governmental inaction. The novel’s narrator runs a beauty salon, which becomes a hospice for those afflicted.

The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian (2006)

Adrian’s fiction blends his own career in medicine alongside the mythological and fantastical. In his second novel, The Children’s Hospital, a plague called the Botch emerges after a series of events, some apocalyptic, some miraculous. Adrian “wants to know why people die, what meaning can be divined from their lives and their ends, and whether anything lies beyond. ”

The Transmigration of Bodies by Yuri Herrera (2013)

Herrera’s fiction is often set near the border between the United States and Mexico. The Transmigration of Bodies follows a familiar noir scenario — two crime families at war in a single town, during the aftereffects of a deadly plague.

They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell

To eight-year old Bunny Morison, his mother is an angelic comforter in whose absence nothing is real or alive. To his older brother, Robert, his mother is someone he must protect, especially since the deadly, influenza epidemic of 1918 is ravaging their small Midwestern town. To James Morison, his wife, Elizabeth, is the center of a life that would disintegrate all too suddenly were she to disappear

The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic — and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World,’ by Steven Johnson

In August 1854, many poor Londoners “suddenly took sick and began dying. Their symptoms included upset stomach, vomiting, gut cramps, diarrhea and racking thirst. Whatever the cause, it was fast — fast to kill (sometimes within 12 hours of onset) and fast in spreading to new victims,” David Quammen wrote in his review of this fascinating and detailed account of the city’s worst cholera epidemic. “Seventy fatalities occurred in a 24-hour period, most within five square blocks, and hundreds more people were in danger.”

The Last Man by Mary Shelley

Set at the end of the twenty-first century, The Last Man is a moving and fantastical account of the apocalypse. Faced with a populace clamoring for more democratic rule, the last king of England relinquishes his throne. Suddenly a mysterious plague sweeps the globe, drawing ever nearer to England. As war, disease, and death ravage humanity, ideals of fairness and love are quickly supplanted by the imperative of survival.

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Kudos to This Bookstore For Helping 19 Families in This Crisis

In an effort to lift bookstores hit hardest by the social distancing efforts and forced closures across the nation, Out of Print found itself in a unique position to help. From March 20–22, 25% of sales at outofprint.com were donated to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (bincfoundation.org). The $19,500 raised will help 19 families of bookstore employees help to pay the rent and cover expenses for a month. Kudos to you!

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The Philosophy of Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski is an iconic writer from the 20th century known for producing some of the rawest and most honest stories and poems of recent history. His own story included.

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Happy Birthday Haruki Murakami

Happy 71st Birthday to one helluva creative writer, Haruki Murakami. Haruki is a Japanese writer. His books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside of Japan.


“Today when I awoke from a nap the faceless man was there with me. He was seated on the chair across from the sofa I’d been sleeping on, staring straight at me with a pair of imaginary eyes in a face that wasn’t.” – Excerpt from his latest #novel, ‘Killing Commendatore”
A tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art. Killing Commendatore is a stunning work of imagination from one of our greatest writers.


#fiction #art #creative #creativewriting #create #artist #writer #author #japan #japanese #amreading #read #books #bookish #booklove #unplug #harukimurakami #haruki #asian #imagination #surreal #abstract #nonfiction #birthday #happybirthday