Release Date: 8/15/2012
Sundancing is part of Thunderstorm Books' third and latest Maelstrom set, an annual collection Keene himself oversees. This novella is exclusive to the collection and, according to the man himself, is the only edition of this particular work that will ever be published.
I'm a big fan of Brian Keene. You'll note that I didn't say I was a fan of his work, I said I was a fan of him. There's a difference. It's possible to appreciate the talent and artistry behind a volume of writing, a photograph, a song, but not really like its creator as a person. That isn't the case here, which is why I especially enjoyed this work of meta fiction.
I've read most of Brian's work, from the historical-esque worlds of Tequilla's Sunrise and Death Comes For All (Cowritten with author Steven L. Shrewsbury) to the gripping modern horror of Urban Gothic and Jack's Magic Beans, and the tales I've enjoyed the most are almost always the ones in which pieces of the author shine through like rays of sunlight through a dusty windowpane.
Ghoul (which was adapted for the small screen and aired earlier this year on Chiller and is also the focus of Sundancing) remains one of my favorite of his works due to how much of him is smeared, dripped, and sliced onto those pages. Portions of his childhood, things that developed him as a person and an author, veins that unite many of his works exist throughout Ghoul especially, but bits and pieces of these same themes are evident in several of his other tales and that's a big part of what really makes them special and what makes Sundance even moreso. It's a snapshot, a glimpse into the life of someone who is good to his fans, his freinds, his family. An author who knows where his heart is, and he pays tribute to that heart with every word of this 65 page novella. The way he describes and discusses Mary SanGiovanni, Keene's partner and fellow writer, made me smile. The love and admiration he feels for her glows on the page, you could almost see the smile on his face as he described her as "beautiful". But fear not, the book isn't all mushy lovey dovey stuff, there's a good deal of humor, excitement, adventure, and intrigue (And even a bit of Hollywood Glam) in these pages. I nearly cheered outloud when Keene taught a lesson to a pair of wannabe marketing all stars, and the geeky comic nerd in me smirked at his putting them in their place over Batman characters.
Keene relates to many other characters in the story in similar, but different ways. His friends are important to him. His fans mean more to him than just another tick on his list of books sold. He's the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with and have a chat over a platter of sushi and a glass of Wild Turkey (Rocks, of course. What's wrong with kids these days and their "twist" nonsense?), the kind of guy I imagine liking just as much if he weren't The Great Brian Keene and was instead Brian From Down The Street.
All in all, Sundancing is an excellent, quick read and highly worth picking up. And should you miss your chance to own it or need more incentive to shell out the dough, Mr. Keene has kindly put the first chapter up on his official website for everyone to enjoy.
Five Stars on The Walk of Fame out of Five.