The Two Mikes

The Two Mikes
Ever wanted to talk with someone about a book you just read? You could just join a book group and talk about it, drink a little, veer off on tangents, work back around to the book again, and finally wrap it up by picking the next book.

But what happens when the book you just read is about about hungry zombies or a haunted house, and your Eat, Pray, Love–reading friends aren’t really into reading it, much less discussing its finer points? That’s what we’re here for. We Two Mikes will be your virtual book group for discussing new and interesting and old and half-forgotten horror books.

If you want to follow along with us, look at the next forbidden book on the table and start reading.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Episode 46: R. L. Stine's Superstitious

Join the Two Mikes as they lay open R. L. Stine's Superstitious. Walk under ladders, smash mirrors, step on sidewalk cracks, and watch the demons have at it. Stine takes a crack at adult fiction and may need 1,000 lucky rabbit's feet to make it in the horror genre. Ouch. He could learn a few things from J. K. Rowling, more than just having initials as your first name.



1 Double shot of chilled Grey Goose Vodka ( Yes, it has to be Grey Goose.)

1 Thimble full of Harp Beer ( Yes, a thimble.)

Drop the thimble into the vodka and kick it back. DO NOT SWALLOW THE THIMBLE!

Yes it is an insult to both the beer and the vodka.

End Music: "99" by Barabra Feldon on The Sex Sixties.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Episode 45: Thomas Disch's The Sub

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Returning to one of Mike S's favorite authors, we read another in Thomas M. Disch's Occult Minnesota series. The Mikes consider the horror of Minnesota, our inner animals, and the slippery slope to the sty.

It's Cocktail Time!

The Piggatini
Twist a piece of bacon around a wooden skewer and microwave until crisp. Set aside.

3 shots of Jim Beam
a dash of Liquid Smoke
a 1/2 shot of real maple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into martini glass. Add bacon stir.

Oink. Oink.

closing music: The Beatles "Piggies" covered by the Tottemo Godzilla Riders

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Episode 44: Dan Simmon's Song of Kali

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(sigh) The Two Mikes' got cocky and thought that the forces of destruction couldn't get them, but how wrong they were. After recording and hour and a half of brilliant discussion about this book, Kali the Destroyer brushed it into nonexistence without an effort. Here is the consolation prize: a discussion we had two weeks later, which turned out to be much better than it deserved to be.

It's Cocktail Time!

Oh! Calcutta Cocktail

two shots Bombay gin
splash of orange blossom water
a kumquat

In a tom collins glass, pour the gin and orange blossom water over ice. Cut and squeeze the kumquat over the ice and drop it in the glass. Fill with tonic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Episode 43: Darren Shan's entire Cirque du Freak series

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Foolishly tacking another huge reading assignment, the Two Mikes read all twelve of Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak books. While no Harry Potter, we find much to like in the series and are even moved by it's clever and graceful ending.
It's Cocktail Time!

Spider Bite

1 shot vodka
1 shot crème de menthe (the clear kind, not the green kind)

1 shot crème de cassis

shake with ice and strain into a martini glass (chin-chin).

Closing music: " Soul Limbo" by Booker T. and the MG's from the Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Episode 42: China Mièville's Perdido Street Station

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The Two Mikes tackle another doorstop of a book. Mike S. loves it all over, while Mike M.'s feelings are, shall we say, more nuanced. An unusually focused discussion of a rather meandering and sprawling book.

It's cocktail time!


Two scoops of the best rocky road ice cream you can find
3 shots butterscotch schnapps
3 ice cubes

Blend it up. Drink it down. Rest uneasy.

closing music: "Dream Weaver," Gary Wright (too obvious?)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Episode 41: Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls

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Filling another hole in our Swiss-cheese knowledge of horror, we read our first Poppy Brite book. A quintessential Goth (as opposed to gothic) novel, we think we see what Ms. Brite's trying to do, and like a lot of what we see, but we kinda wish we'd read one of her later, more assured books.

It's cocktail time!

The Chartreuse Sazerac

Chill a small rocks glass. Place sugar cube in a shaker, and add 3–4 dashes Peychaud's bitters and 2 shots rye whiskey. Stir gently with ice.
Add a few drops of Chartreuse to the chilled glass and swing out, leaving the glass coated with the liqueur. Rub lemon peel around the rim of the glass.
Strain contents of shaker into chilled glass and garnish with lemon peel. Enjoy the weird rosy burn of this classic New Orleans cocktail.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Episode 40: Kim Paffenroth's Dying to Live: An Novel of Life among the Undead

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For our fortieth(!) episode, the Mike's revisit the subgenre that launched this podcast: the zombie novel. This time we select, almost at random, one of Permuted Press's many undead offerings. Unconvinced by the novel's highmindedness, we try to say something nice, but perhaps end up saying nothing at all.

It's Cocktail Time.

High-falutin' Pruno

big tablespoon of mixed berries (frozen is okay)
shot of simple syrup
fresh mint
2 shots rye
orange bitters

Muddle berries, syrup, and mint in bottom of rocks glass. Pour in rye. Fill glass with ice. Top with a dash of bitters. For added authenticity, make a large batch in a toilet.

closing music: "Expialadocius" mashup found on the the interwebs

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Episode 39: William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist

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Hitting a touchstone of modern horror, the Two Mikes wrestle with the demons of childhood trauma, belief, and audio production, to bring you an uncharacteristically focused discussion of William Peter Blatty's bestseller.

It's Cocktail Time!

Pea Soup

1 scoop vanilla ice cream, softened, per drink
1 shot electric green crème de menthe per scoop of ice cream
1 shot Kahlua per scoop of ice cream
a few chocolate chips and mint leaves

Place all ingredients in blender with the lid off. Blend on HIGH until walls, ceiling, and yourself are generously coated.

Closing music: "Little Demon" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Episode 38: John Farris's All Heads Turn When the Hunt Goes By

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The Mikes tackle an atypical horror novel from the heyday of shiny-title horror novels and are pleasantly surprised by this complex tale of family secrets, colonial angst, and America's original sin. And snakes—squirmy, nasty snakes.

It's Cocktail time!

American Snakebite
1/2 pint of hard cider
1/2 pint of lager
1 shot of Southern Comfort

drink it with a straw!

End music: "Black Snake Blues" by Peter Cleighton

Friday, March 6, 2009

Episode 37: The Man on the Ceiling by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem

What do you see on the ceiling when you wake up in the middle of the night? Is it an angel? Is it death? Is it Uncle Albert having a tea party with Julie Andrews?

Join the Mikes while they read Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem's The Man on the Ceiling. Mike S. commits all kinds of logical fallacies and Mike M. does not get the conceit of "let's talk about it as if it is horror." But they both agree this genre-busting book is one of devastating beauty. Seriously, go out and read it.

You bet - it is COCKTAIL TIME!

The Man on the Floor Cocktail

2 shots Bacardi 150 proof rum
and Coke over ice. Drop in a lime wedge.

Drink and hug the floor.

End music: Boston -- More Than a Feeling.
Post Script from Mike M: I was curious so I wrote to the authors and asked them about the forms they use when setting out to write and here is the reply from Melanie Tem:

Thanks so much Mike! We're pleased that your book group read The Man on the Ceiling and delighted that is touched you.

Your question is a good one. I don't think either of us very often sets out to write a horror story or science fiction, or Western, or crime/detective, or mainstream or literary or magical realism, all of which we also write. We really try to write whatever genre and using whatever techniques will tell the story best.

We both also write poetry ( Steve more than me) and plays ( me more than Steve), and I do some oral storytelling--again, I don't set out to "write a play" or "come up with something to tell orally," and I don't think Steve sets out to "write a poem"; the form is chosen to best tell the story. And we often find ourselves crossing genres ( I guess that's a genre itself now - slipstream), because the story requires it. That happened with The Man on the Ceiling. We're not even entirely sure what form it is-- hence the "a novel(maybe)" our publisher put on the cover.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Episode 36: Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves

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We've put it off too long.
After joking and cajoling and threatening for two years, we've finally gotten up the nerve to read and wrestle with House of Leaves. Much to our surprise, we found we both could read it, finish it, and more or less agree about its merits and flaws. Who woulda guessed?

It's Cocktail Time!

The Dead Blind Zampanò Cocktail

1 shot Kahlua
2 shots (house) vodka
1 Amaretto

Shake with ice; strain into glass. Garnish with white maraschino cherry.

Special closing music: "I Was in the House When the House Burned Down" by Warren Zevon

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Episode 35, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book

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The Mike's dig right in to this latest novel by Dark Fantasy superstar Neil Gaiman. We find much to like and stay remarkably on topic. An hour goes by before we know it.

1/27/09 - And now a Newbery Award Winner!

It's Cocktail Time!

The Winding Sheet

2 shots gin (something British, like Boodles or Beefeaters) 1/2 shot Becherovka (clove liqueur from the Czech Republic) 1 teaspoon powdered sugar shake vigorously with crushed ice and strain into martini glass finish with 2–3 shakes orange bitters on top.

Wrap yourself in this pale, ghostly treat and bid farewell to all your earthly cares.

End tune:  The Main Theme from Torchwood.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Episode 34 - Oliver Onions - The Beckoning Fair One

The house is haunted again and the Mikes are going to see if they can get out of it in one piece in Oliver Onions's masterpiece of atmospheric horror The Beckoning Fair One. You may want to leave, be begged to leave, or just decide it is that time of year to quietly pull down the shades and stay in until the snow melts.

Yes, of course it is Cocktail Time!

Combing The Old Ghost's Hair: The Godiva Comb-Over

1 pint Guinness, Young's, or Murphy's stout
1 shot of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Drop the shot in the pint and drink up. Don't swallow the glass.

End Music: "Sister Golden Hair" by America.