Michael McCarty “Modern Mythmakers” Review

Posted: June 18, 2015 in Reviews, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,



Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing

Length: 424 Pages

Release Date: February 23, 2015

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Michael McCarty has crafted an absolute must-read in Modern Mythmakers. Collecting 35 interviews in the horror and science fiction fields, McCarty has given fans an inside look behind the scenes of the creative process of writers and filmmakers with interesting tidbits about some of the most memorable works in both genres.

The preface of this book, written by McCarty himself, explains why this book is such a vital read for horror fans. McCarty may have been able to sit down and meet some of the biggest names in horror, but the reason he set out to embark on this project was a simple one that I am sure all of us can relate to – he simply loved the works in the genre and wanted to share that passion with others. He recalls interesting tales of meeting with First Blood author David Morrell and Kurt Vonnegut. He lays out his experience and the art of what he tries to achieve with his own interviews. It’s inspiring and shows what is possible with meticulous research, determination and hard work.

Some of the interviews contained in the book are a bit older, pulled from McCarty’s archives, but there is also new material that has been added to this addition, particularly in the sections focusing on Ray Bradbury, Joe McKinney, Christopher Moore, William Nolan, and David Snell to name a few.

I enjoyed this book because it not only offered me insight into some writers and filmmakers I already knew and loved, but introduced me to some new authors as well. Also, I have always been interested in reading interviews with my favorite musicians, authors and other types of artists. Sure, I liked uncovering details behind some of the works I loved, but I always found the most intriguing information comes from the candid moments where the subject of the interview opens up.

 McCarty’s interview questions are fairly straightforward, but he has a talent at getting the interviewees to open up and share interesting tidbits of information. The book opens with an interview of Forrest J. Ackermen, who was the editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland for 20 years and racked up numerous prestigious awards for his work. I thought it was interesting to learn that he is the one credited with coining the term “sci-fi”. It is one of those words that was seemingly ingrained in my mind for an early age and I never really questioned the origins of the term. It also loved hearing his thoughts on the evolution of science fiction since he first became a fan in the 1920’s and his humorous personal stories about Ray Bradbury.

Speaking of Bradbury, in his interview, readers are treated to information about the process behind one of his most memorable works and arguably one of the most memorable works of fiction ever written Fahrenheit 451 written in the basement library of UCLA on a rented typewriter and wrote the book in 9 days.

Ramsey Campbell offers personal anecdotes about unexplained events in his home that led him to question his stance on the existence of ghosts. John Carpenter offers up insight into the creation of Halloween from the story itself to one of horror’s most enduring icons Michael Myers aka “The Shape”.

There are also some interesting little known facts presented throughout such as Neil Gaiman’s interview where he offers up a humorous story about Douglas Adams and how Bentley Little is connected to Spongebob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg. Probably one of my favorite things that I read was reading Peter Straub’s thoughts about the writing process behind The Talisman and Black House. It is easy to take for granted how easy it is to collaborate with super fast internet and near instantaneous access to information, so it was interesting to read about the creative efforts that went into writing those books and the practical hurdles they had to overcome.

I highly recommend Modern Mythmakers to fans of science fiction and horror looking for the behind-the-scenes information and possibly a jolt of inspiration. Sometimes as a blogger it can be hard to sit down and write, but reading these interviews and hearing these artists talk passionately about their work and what drives them, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4/5

Michael McCarty Official Website

Crystal Lake Publishing Official Website

Purchase Modern Mythmakers on Amazon


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