Roland Allnach

multi-award winning author of the strange and surreal
www.rolandallnach.com
 

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Oddities & Entities - Reviews & Interviews

  For reader reference:

-  View and/or print a PDF book fact sheet here.
-  An excerpt of Oddities & Entities is available here.

-  Available in multiple formats at Amazon and signed copies available at this site's Bookstore.

  Reviews:

  --Review by Readers FavoriteRead the review here, below.
  --Review by BestsellersworldRead the review below.
  --Review by Cynthia Brian, host of World Talk Radio's 'Starstyle', read below.
  --Review by Reader Views.  Read the review
below.
  --Review by Pacific Book Review.  Read the review below.
  --Review hosted by Net Galley (courtesy of Vanessa Powell).  Read the review below.
  --Review hosted by Net Galley (courtesy of April Reynolds).  Read the review below.
  --Review hosted by Net Galley (courtesy of Carole Holland).  Read the review below.

 Awards:

** Bronze Medalist, Horror, 2012 Readers Favorite Book Awards
** Finalist, Paranormal, 2012 Readers Favorite Book Awards
** Award Winner - Finalist, Fiction/Horror, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards
** Award Winner - Finalist, Fiction/Anthologies, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards
** Bronze Medal, Horror, 2012 Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards
** Finalist, Short Stories, 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards
** '50 Great Authors You Should Be Reading' inclusion, 2013
** Winner, Horror, 2014 Pacific Book Review Book Awards

  Interviews for Oddities & Entities:

·         The opening splash for O&E also constituted my first television appearance.  I appeared on Lifetime's morning show, The Balancing Act, on June 14, 2012.  You can watch the full interview right here: 

 

--  Interviewed on World Talk Radio's 'Starstyle' with Cynthia Brian. Listen to the archived episode right here.
--  Radio interview on with NYT Bestselling author Cynthia Brian on 'Starstyle'.  Listen here.
--  Text interview with Bestsellersworld, read it here.
--  Listen to an interview at the 'Health, Wealth & Wisdom' archive.

Listen to a podcast interview at Inside Scoop Live.

 


Oddities & Entities, by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Lee Ashford, Readers Favorite

"Oddities & Entities" by Roland Allnach, categorized as horror fiction, is unlike any other horror fiction I have ever encountered. The book is comprised of six stories, each of which is written a cut above the norm. There are no recognizable monsters in these stories, no sophomoric zombies, no evil ancient vampires, and none of the standard fare I have become accustomed to in the horror genre. I do like the usual run of the horror genre, but this book is written with thoughtful intelligence, for an intelligent adult reader. I do not mean to imply sexual situations or coarse language. What I mean is, any intelligent reader, capable of deep thought, will find this book irresistible. The six individual stories are as unlike as any six stories can be, yet each one is so sufficiently well-written that, if sold as individual short stories, I wouldn't hesitate to award 5 stars to each of them.

To say I like this book is a crass understatement. Each story drew me in and evoked my empathy for various characters. These stories forced me to actually think beyond what I was reading. Each premise was unique, at least in my experience; I have never encountered any other stories that even approach the situations these present with authority and authenticity. If I could boil down my perception of this book into a single word, that word would be WOW! Roland Allnach's first anthology, "Remnant", which I have also read, was placed as a finalist in the Science Fiction category in the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards. I absolutely expect "Oddities & Entities" to follow suit. If you read only one book this year, make it this one. Be prepared to have your comfort zone challenged.

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"Oddities & Entities" by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb, Bestsellersworld.com
 

If you’re fans of quality horror literature, you owe it to yourselves to check out the up-and-coming author, Roland Allnach, and his collections of brilliant novellas, Remnant (which I’ve reviewed at (Bestsellersworld) elsewhere), and Oddities & Entities. The stories he writes are stealth bombs of suspense and they have a high creepiness factor that suck his readers in like quicksand teeming with all sorts of vile, squiggly creatures. That may sound unappetizing, if you, like his characters, are mired in the quicksand of predicaments he writes about; but, if you’re a fan of the horror genre reading them, they’re like electrical shocks to the pleasure centers of the brain.

Oddities & Entities consists of six marvelous miniature masterpieces of horror. I won’t go into each in-depth, but I will touch on some of the many highlights that make this a stand-out collection that you should add to your personal libraries. The six novellas are: “Boneview (one of my personal favorites),”Shift/Change,” “My Other Me,” “Gray,” “Elmer Phelps (also nicely atmospheric and twisted),” and the collection concludes with the polished gem, “Appendage.”

“Boneview,” is a tale about a young woman who has a most remarkable gift, though it’s often more like a curse to her: Allison can use her psychic ability called boneview to see how people will die. It’s like she gets an X-ray gaze into their futures, into whatever degenerative bone diseases the people might develop. Allison can peer into their bodies and learn if they will get into a car wreck, or fall off of a ladder and break their necks.

Allison discovers that her powers are more of a burden than a blessing. Two different entities want to get at her and use her for their own purposes. There’s a bizarre but very cool creature called the Curmudgeon who wants to become more human, and desires to steal her first-born to accomplish this goal. And, there’s someone who is ostensibly a human, but who travels all around the country killing people with the sight and cutting out their eyeballs to save their immortal souls.

In “Shift/Change,” a hospital worker struggles to regain his memory while being confronted by a series of desperate people. The character, Eldin, takes life and death very nonchalantly, telling the new employee with the memory issues, John, that: “Time don’t mean nothin’ down here.” Some people like the junkie, Rose, pay Eldin money to shoot up there. Others pay for the twisted desire of necrophilia with the “stiffies.” i.e., to have sex with the corpses. How is this new employee similar to one that the hospital used to employ? When one has unfinished business to take care of, can even death prevent him from giving himself up to the cops?

“My Other Me,” reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, especially the ones in which he mentions doppelgangers. That’s because, in Allnach’s novella, a college student finds himself displaced in his own body by his alter ego. If your alter ego is someone like Superman, everything’s fine–but, what if your alter ego was that of a serial killer? “My Other Me,” is a great take on this theme.

I’ll just discuss in brief one more of the six novellas, “Appendage.” It is the final story of the collection, and it’s about what happens when a cynical mercenary is hired by his son to protect a research lab on the verge of a stunning discovery. Without hopefully giving too much away, the story reminded me somewhat of the movie Predator. That’s because much of it takes place in a jungle. The mercenary, Randal, discovers that he has an inoperable brain tumor. This novella, among many other things, illustrates that “Going Green,” is not always a good thing to do.

Oddities & Entities is a collection of six tales of the macabre which will chill your spine. The novellas made me think, as I was reading them, of some of the best Twilight Zone episodes I’ve ever viewed. Roland Allnach already impressed me with his suspenseful collection of short stories, Remnant, and he has proven with this latest collection that he is rapidly becoming a master of the horror/suspense genres. Horror afficionados, check out Oddities & Entities today, and be on the look-out soon for my interview with the author, Roland Allnach, at this site (Bestsellersworld)!

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Review of 'Oddities & Entities'
by Cynthia Brian, host of World Talk Radio's 'Starstyle'


5 STARS - Horror in Poetic Prose

 Normally books I choose to review are non-fiction, upbeat, positive, and life-enhancing. Horror is not a genre that I read, but when Roland Allnach’s Oddities & Entities crossed my desk, I was intrigued by the sentence “Set in the mysterious space between the everyday world and an existence just beyond reach, ‘Oddities & Entities’ traces a path through the supernatural, the paranormal, and the speculative.”

 The read didn’t disappoint. Oddities & Entities is an anthology of six tales that explore the meaning of life beyond flesh and bone. The stories are gritty, gruesome, bewitching, and beautiful.  Allnach began writing as a hobby when he was a teenager without dreams of becoming an author. After more than two decades working the night shift in a hospital, he had experienced an abundance of strange and abnormal activities, many of which found their way into his writings.  Allnach is a master storyteller with a powerful pen. His words flow as gently as a stream meandering through a bucolic meadow even as he describes nightmarish scenes.   

 Roland was a guest on my internationally broadcast radio program, Starstyle® -Be the Star You Are!® and he enthralled our listeners around the world as he described real life happenings hidden beyond the veil, his writing process, and his runaway imagination.  An avid reader, Allnach has a do-it-yourself personality, thus when he writes, he studies what he reads then designs his own musicality for his sentences. The fluid transparency of his words catapult the reader into the world of his macabre characters forcing one to make a moral judgment on his philosophical musings.  We experience the paranormal, the speculative, and the crazed with Allnach’s poetic prose. He is a master writer of the surreal and deserving of the numerous awards he is winning.

 Oddities & Entities will entice, frighten, and shock as the little voices that live in the author’s mind jump into yours. Enjoy the creatures, the complexities, and the curveballs. The horror and the haunting have never been more therapeutic!

 Cynthia Brian is Producer/Host of StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio and a New York Times best selling author.

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"Oddities & Entities" by Roland Allnach
Review by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

 

Article first published as Book Review: Oddities and Entities by Roland Allnach on Blogcritics.

“Oddities & Entities” by Roland Allnach is composed of six engrossing, and sometimes grossing short stories.  Each one is unique in its own way, and completely different from anything I have ever read before. Reading these twisted stories gave me an awesome escape that made me feel like I was on a ride through a fun house with no idea when it would be over or where I would end up.  As a result of the uniqueness of the author’s ideas, he is in control of the journey because you will have no idea what is going to happen next in his creative imagination. 

If you are looking for a romantic comedy, this is not the book for you.  Although there are several relationships that are involved in most of these stories, they tend to be out of the norm. Way out of the norm as a matter of fact. For example, in “Elmer Phelps,” the main character has two relationships to deal with. One would be perfect, if it wasn’t complicated by Elmer’s secret dire need for consuming raw flesh. There is also a bit of an issue with how well he gets along with his sister who shares his dietary needs. I will stop there because I don’t want to spoil it. 

As I read each story, I appreciated how well Roland Allnach was able to write such complete, detailed scenes in the space of a short story or a novella.  He does a wonderful job of describing the scenes and helping you dive right into the characters’ minds. He will take you to some dark and twisted places, and you will enjoy having goose bumps on your arms. And when you are done with reading “Oddities & Entities,” you will be extremely relieved to find yourself back in your mundane world, as I was.  Then, if you are like me, you will find yourself looking on the Internet to find out what else Roland Allnach has written so that you can dive right back into that twisted darkness.

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Pacific Book Review

"Oddities & Entities", by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Jason Lulos

Psychoses, psychics, neuroses, and revelations not explainable by common sense biology, the characters in this fantastic collection of stories reveal and discover, to quote the author, a human "is a bridge, and not an end."

The borders between psyches, humans and the world, the natural and the supernatural are not shattered; they are subtly made fluid as bridges themselves. Each story in “Oddities and Entities” is beautifully written and the flawed characters, from fallen angels to reluctant vampires, do not just romantically accept their nature as some cookie cutter cult figures might. These characters, in Hamlet-esque style, question the hell out of who they are and therefore take philosophical and psychological tangents about what they are in relation to the world.

"Boneview" is the first story in the collection.  Allison, an atypical Goth girl, plagued and protected by a ghoul of a guardian angel from birth, has psychic abilities. This is, of course, a blessing and a curse. In the end, she must make a choice between two kinds of sight. It is a Bildungsroman, beautifully dark.

"Shift/Change" is composed of two stories which surprisingly intertwine.  John, a literal or figurative fallen angel, finds potential redemption while working with a hedonist in the mortuary of a hospital. Think Night Shift but written by Stephen King or the Coen brothers. 

Mo, short for "My Other Me," an alter-ego and more.  What starts out as a dark vignette about a shy young Noel stalking a young beauty becomes a similarly dark, but slapstick dual personality war in which Noel and Mo take turns kicking each other out of Mo and Noel's body.  A wonderful philosophical tangent comes from the shadowed (out of body) Noel, who struggles with this new way of perceiving the world. "If what he perceived as his intellect was a fantasy generated by his own flesh, then the perception of existence about his flesh was fantasy as well. Nothing was real, and so everything was real." A fine deconstruction.

"Gray." Dave, our protagonist has a small man expelled from his brain during a feverish bout of nose blowing. The homunculus, "Gray," is not the ghost in the machine; he's a symbiote who establishes order, living in virtual harmony with his human comrade since birth. Perhaps a comment on the fallacy that the world can be described or even lived in binary oppositions, the gray symbolizes the fluctuation between black and white concepts such as order and freedom.

A reluctant vampire, "Elmer Phelps," unwilling to join the fraternity/sorority of the unspoken vampires, falls in love with Samantha, a waitress at the local diner. A small town love story, with charm and sensitivity, turns into an all out blood bath before it's over. Elmer's older sister praises the immortal lifestyle and shy Elmer's conscience resists. She is a psychic bridge to Elmer, a depraved but protective older sister, encouraging Elmer to partake in all things forbidden.  

The final, and aptly named, appending story is "Appendage." Think of a Buddhist or Transcendentalist Island of Dr. Moreau. Randal is a mercenary hired by his son, Jonah, to protect his discovery of an elixir called "Purity," a veritable panacea. The miracle drug from the jungle is a kind of "cure all" but not exactly a new "discovery." Sort of a spoiler: The "villagers" have mastered a certain art: Transcendental in mind and body. What reads like an action/horror story actually segues nicely to an end (or a bridge, I should say) connecting humans and nature with a lyrical lasting image of the rustling of leaves as the echoes of our ancestors.  This is a great book. Nothing you expect to happen, happens.  The author keeps you thinking and turning the page over and over.

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Review of "Oddities & Entities" by Vanessa Powell
Hosted at Net Galley and
Goodreads

4/5 Stars  

I was hooked from the first story in Oddities & Entities, "Boneview," and I'm pleased to say this carried throughout the volume. Its one of those short stories collections where its they aren't really short stories, so much as fiction meeting all the length required for the story and nothing more. The theme throughout is an exploration of the body, mind, and soul, but also of disconnection and reunion. Its also intensely creepy, startling, and you could probably substitute a cup of coffee for one of these stories if you need to stay up and alert. 

My favorites were, "Boneview," "Shift/Change," "My Other Me," "Grey," and "Elmer Phelps," and while none of the stories are connected I can picture them existing in the same universe of wonder and danger. Starting with "Boneview," and ending with "Appendage," gave the whole volume a very polished and cyclical feel. Four stars though, as I just didn't like the non-linear style of "Appendage," (non-linear just has to be done in a certain way for me) and "Grey," starts rather slow. 

This was my first foray into Allnach's work, I like his style, intense with just enough details to picture the absolute work. There's a subtly that requires the reader not to be thick to get the gist, like "Elmer Phelps," and makes the realization more intensely horrifying. I'd recommend it to fans of Neil Gaiman and Victor Lavalle.

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Review of "Oddities & Entities" by April Reynolds
Hosted at Net Galley and
Goodreads

4/5 Stars - VERY Different

The author takes you into multiple different places with several short stories. Just about the time the author almost loses my interest, he peaks it again and again. The stories are quite different than any I’ve read yet in some strange way I can not only realize them but I understand them. Each story has its own little lesson and yet you don’t realize it until the very end. The author does not leave gaps here which I love. At the end of each story he does not leave you wondering what happens to each character which I have found is a rare occurrence in most books these days. The author could leave a bit less information leading to the story but at the same time it really catches you once you get past it and leaves no unanswered questions. I would recommend this book to most of the people I know it has a little bit of everything in it. It does come with dark humor which I love and a subtle creepiness that keeps you looking around once you’ve read a story or two. The author introduces you into a place of his thoughts that only he could explain and brings imaginable creatures to life.

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Review of "Oddities & Entities" by Carole Holland
Hosted at Net Galley,
Goodreads, Carole Finds Her Wings (blog)

5/5 Stars

This is possibly one of the best shot story collections I have ever picked up, at the same time as being one of the oddest.

The six stories take elements of human psychology and well-known supernatural and paranormal creatures and turns them on their head with spine-chilling results.

All of the stories were clever and very different from each other – at the end of the book I could remember the main elements of each with very little thinking because they had each left me with a little something to think about and mull over.

Allnach’s characterisation is fantastic, no two characters were the same and none of them felt flat or unrealistic as is often the case in short stories. Within the confines of the short story structure it is very easy to have one-dimensional characters because there simply isn’t time to fit in a mass of backstory and the main story you want to tell, any writer will tell you it’s difficult to strike a balance successfully. Allnach never once fell into this trap, cleverly using the characters thoughts and memories to fill in gaps in some stories and simply by moving the time quickly and efficiently through others. Every story got me engrossed enough to not want to put it down because I wanted to know what the characters would do next – their world was always so close to mine in every way it was a bit like following the progress of a friend.

Several of the stories got gory and violent but never in a way that seemed out of place – it was always something you had seen coming and fitted perfectly with the story, inevitable but often gruesome – my stomach turned on more than one occasion. Despite this, I never once wanted to stop reading, the stories were so intriguing that I simply had to keep reading – my face must have been a picture as I winced my way through some scenes, equally disgusted and fascinated. It was a bit like watching a scary movie from behind a cushion – I wanted to look away but simply couldn’t in case I missed something important.

Every now and then I got a bit bogged down by long words and slightly heavy language but it was never enough to make me stop reading and usually was used well in context that I could carry on reading and glean the meaning from what else was said and going on.

The thing that has stayed with me most from reading Oddities and Entities is the realisation that the human brain is very finely tuned and it’s surprisingly easy for that balance to be disturbed and thrown off course, often without you even noticing. That’s what made it so scary, there were very few points during the stories where I could have put my hand on my heart and sworn that I wouldn’t have made the same choices as the characters in their situation – even the choices that led to things I normally wouldn’t even imagine.

It turns out much scarier things can happen than turning into a ‘vampire’ if you get bitten by the wrong sort of bat, the grey sense of order in the world maybe has much darker roots than the ‘human logic’ we assume and those weird, whispering, out-of-character thoughts you sometimes have? Yeah, they’re not the ‘you’ that you think they are… 

 

 
     
All original content copyright by Roland Allnach.  Content may be linked and/or quoted, but not reproduced without permission.
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