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Book Review: ARCRANIUM by Mark Towse & Daemon Manx

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Towse and Manx hop into the Sci-Fi world of AI in this new tale about “one-upping” your friends, or associates, or your competition. Who can write the most shocking and scary horror novel?

Four horror writers, who all have oddly unique personalities, come together for their routine visit to rag on each other and to boast about their own work. They each think they are the best at writing horror novels.

One of the writers introduces the others to the world of AI, Artificial Intelligence, and how it can write the perfect story. There is a program, a super-secret high-tech program, basically government level program that can fuse with the authors mind, creating the best possible story. And while doing so, it can add the other participants into the story. That premise tells you right up front someone’s feelings are going to get hurt, or they’re going to get killed or something. That kind of set-up just tells you to watch out, something is going to go wrong, and all hell is going to break loose. After all its technology, and someone probably forgot to install an update sometime.

The four writers are already secretly jealous of each other, and deep down they most likely have resentment toward each other depending on the success of any of their stories. Now the competition has been stepped up a few levels, because they all agree to use this new technology to get the best story possible out of the deep dark areas of their brains and into the open for each to see.

What the participants get are these nightmarish events playing out, where the line of real and fiction is beyond blurred. Each of the main characters goes through their story, each being different but also gruesomely horrifying. This book is several stories in one. But at the foundation is the main story of how these newer stories are taking place. Did I just confuse you? It’s not a confusing book. But it is very layered.

And these layers come to life with the writing style of Towse and Manx. Like I said earlier I’ve read Towse before in the past, so I think I kind of know what I’m going to get from him. I am not familiar with Manx, but I will say the two did an excellent job blending the styles. It wasn’t like I was able to point out this is where Towse stopped, and Manx took over. There didn’t seem to be much of a shift is the narrative which is a big positive.

I think the character building is strong in this book. You really do get the sense these writers want to write the best story and they are willing to sacrifice friendships that may not have been there to begin with in order to create the perfect horror.

Title: Arcranium

Author: Mark Towse & Daemon Manx

Publisher: Independently Published

Publication Date: January 1, 2023

Pages: 187

Language: English

Format Reviewed: eBook

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