Thursday, September 29, 2016

In the Same Vein: Recommendations for Nethereal Fans

Making recommendations of works similar to Nethereal is a tall order, as Brian Niemeier has drawn from many influences to create what Jeffro Johnson has called  “Anime-Fueled Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror Cosmological Action.”  Not many works match that genre description, and fewer the mood of NetherealSo, this month, my recommendations will focus on works that share aspects of Nethereal's milieu, from cosmological horror to grim space piracyAnd, as anime has influence Brian Niemeier's writings, I have included two series as well, although the focus remains on the written word.  

This list is not intended as definitive, and all plot descriptions are taken from the back covers.


Souldancer, by Brian Niemeier.  (Preview.) 
Twenty years after the old world ended in fire, Xander Sykes travels the deserts of a drastically changed Mithgar. His fascination with the world he never knew—along with his strange abilities—divides him from his clan. But otherworldly forces interrupt his exile. Pursued by enemies from above and beneath the world, Xander bands together with an ambassador from hell, his heavenly bodyguard, and a reformed guildsman seeking to right his order’s wrongs. The search for answers leads to a vast, decaying city haunted by a presence as tormented as it is deadly. Xander finds a survivor who may give purpose to his nameless longing—if he can help her escape the terror that stalks them both.
The sequel to Nethereal opens up the cosmology even further, developing aspects of the mythology only glimpsed at in the first book.  It also shows how the universe is recovering from Elena's tampering with the White Well.  Probably the only book out there like Nethereal, for obvious reasons.


Print Works:

Awake in the Night Land, by John C. Wright.
Part novel, part anthology, the book consists of four related novellas, "Awake in the Night", "The Cry of the Night-Hound", "Silence of the Night", and "The Last of All Suns", which collectively tell the haunting tale of the Last Redoubt of Man and the end of the human race.
These four tales, set in the nightmarish world of  William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land, captures the horror -and the hope- of the last remaining city of man as it stands besieged for millions of years by alien monstrosities. 
Hyperspace Demons, by Jonathan Moeller.  
In space, the demons can hear you scream.
Space travel has always come with risks. But hyperspace travel comes with one particularly frightening risk, namely, the non-corporeal dark energy-based macrobiotic entities that inhabit the void and are drawn to the presence of human minds. Once penetrated by a macrobe, the infected human mind rapidly devolves into raving insanity, which usually presents in a homicidal manner. Fortunately, hyperspace-capable ships are protected by a dark energy resonator that keeps the macrobes away and thereby permits safe interstellar travel.
But what happens when a ship’s resonator is sabotaged while it is traveling through hyperspace? And who would be so insane as to unleash a demonic infection of mutating madness on an entire ship’s crew? 
Space horror done right, both in theme and in storytelling. 
Inferno, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.
After being thrown out the window of his luxury apartment, science fiction writer Allen Carpentier wakes to find himself at the gates of hell. Feeling he's landed in a great opportunity for a book, he attempts to follow Dante's road map. Determined to meet Satan himself, Carpentier treks through the Nine Layers of Hell led by Benito Mussolini, and encounters countless mental and physical tortures. As he struggles to escape, he's taken through new, puzzling, and outlandish versions of sin--recast for the present day.
The classic science fiction retelling of the Divine Comedy. 
Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny.  
Earth is long since dead. On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology, made themselves immortal, and now rules their world as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Only one dares oppose them: he who was once Siddhartha and is now Mahasamatman. Binder of Demons. Lord of Light.
Like Nethereal, this one is hard to describe, but an excellent read.  Had this been available in Kindle, it would have been the October Puppy of the Month.


Visual Works:

Harlock: Space Pirate.  (Movie trailer and first ten minutes. ) 
Many years into the future, battle has been raging across the galaxies as 500 billion humans, whose forebears were exiled from Earth, plan to return to what is still called home. Forced to flee a ravaged Earth, humans have now depleted the corners of the galaxy to which they fled. Earth has now become the most valued and precious resource of all, controlled by the corrupt Gaia Coalition which governs the human race across the different galaxies. Captain Harlock and his trusted crew are the only hope mankind has of discovering the secrets that the Gaia have kept hidden.
The lord of all space pirates flies the Jolly Roger in rebellion once more. 
Neon Genesis Evangelion.  (Rebuild movie trailers: 1.11, 2.22, & 3.33.)  
Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines, the Evas, and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01. Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind's battle for survival.
Combining mecha, psychological horror, and the Japanese fascination with mythology, this landmark series spawned a media empire of TV series, movies, manga, games, and more. It is currently undergoing its own Galactica-like remake in a series of four Rebuild movies.   The TV series, although considered a classic, is harder to find through legitimate means than the Rebuild movies as its American distributor has gone out of business.  Probably the closest match to Nethereal of all the recommendations listed.


It is certain that I've left out some deserving recommendations, so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below

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