Couching at the Door: Another winner from Wordsworth Editions

Couching at the Door by D.K. Broster

Once again, I find myself thankful to the British publisher Wordsworth Editions, and in particular its Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural division, for turning me on to an author who I may not have ever discovered otherwise. In the past, I have written here of several other writers brought to my attention by this extensive and wonderful series of economically priced books: Ambrose Bierce in Terror By Night, Alice and Claude Askew in Aylmer Vance: Ghost-Seer, and May Sinclair in Read More

Land of Unreason: A very strange book

Land of Unreason by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt

Land of Unreason first saw the light of day in 1941, in a shorter form, in Unknown magazine; it was later expanded to novel length. Just as there is a genre of science fiction known as "hard" sci-fi, as typified by the works of Hal Clement and Larry Niven, this novel impresses me as a "hard" fantasy novel. Not only do authors L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt usher us into Fairyland and show us the court of Oberon and Titania, but also all manner of elves, sprites, nymphs, fairies, ogres, kobolds and the like; even a leprechaun and a unicorn are thrown into the mix.

This journey into the fantastic begins when Fred Barber — an American vice-cons... Read More

Islandia: On the Edge

Islandia by Austin Tappan Wright

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

Islandia is a keeper. It’s one of those books that lives on your shelf and which you gaze at lovingly from time to time, considering whether this is the time to crack it open again or not. You don’t want to do it too often for fear that you might dilute some of its power (and let’s be frank: it’s a looong book), yet you don’t want to let your immersion in its world go too long between visits. This is one of those books that I would use to refute M. John Harrison’s argument that world-building is the death of good fiction. This work ... Read More