5555.2012


Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury: Four great stories make it easy to recommend

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle

Thanks to our recent book chats here, I’ve reread a bit of Ray Bradbury lately, so I was well primed to pick up the 2012 tribute anthology edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle, entitled Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, which collects 26 contemporary authors who were asked to write a story inspired or informed by Bradbury. The task was sufficiently non-restrictive that the stories run a gamut of style and type: horror, fantasy, dystopia, science fiction, as well as several with no fantastical element whatsoever, which may surprise those who know Bradbury only through classic novels like Fahrenheit 451 or Something Wicked This Way Comes, or collections suc... Read More

Cthulhu Haiku and Other Mythos Madness: A delightfully dark anthology

Cthulhu Haiku and Other Mythos Madness  edited by Lester Smith

The works of almost fifty authors are collected in this delightfully dark anthology of Cthulhu Haiku and Other Mythos Madness, which includes, other than Haiku, short- to medium-length poetry and about ten short-short stories in the horror genre; however, most of these short horror works are in the tradition of or comment on the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft, as the title makes clear. I think any fan of Lovecraft should check this book out. It’s a fun read. And it’s often a funny read as well. Consider the haiku tradition in English of writing the poems in a three-line, 5-7-5 syllable pattern. And then note that Necronomicon has five syllables! That word is just begging to be the first line of a haiku:



​​ Necrono... Read More

Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane: Like a box of chocolates

Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane edited by Jonathan Oliver

Magic is, almost by definition, esoteric and arcane; something known only to a few, kept secret from the masses, practiced only by initiates. Still, the grandiose title of this themed anthology of original stories may oversell it slightly, since many of the tales here are quite conventional. Jonathan Oliver gathered a shining collection of talent, though, and with fifteen stories spanning fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy and horror, most readers will find something to enjoy.

The book has a lovely cover by Nicolas Delort. It’s a simulated woodcut. A Victorian-era woman holds an infant with horns, while a hooded demonic figure stands guard, and the cover is replete with lilies, skulls and ravens. Editor Jonathan Oliver opens the book with an introduction that talks a little bit about each story. I wish he had written instead about the g... Read More

Evil Jester Digest, Volume 2: A horror anthology

Evil Jester Digest, Volume 2 edited by Peter Giglio

Editor Peter Giglio explains in his introduction to Evil Jester Digest, Volume 2, that there are two ways to assemble an anthology: send out a call for submissions and read through the piles and piles of stories you’ll get as a result; or seek out exactly those authors you’d like to have in your anthology. In Volume I of Evil Jester Digest, Giglio took the first course, but in this volume he asked the writers he wanted to sell him stories. The result is a clean, tight anthology filled with good stories.

Evil Jester Digest opens with “No More Shadows” by Tim Waggoner. Dan is slowly driving around the parking lot of an electronics store, talking on his cellphone to his ex-wife, practically begging to be... Read More

Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brandon Sanderson, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kate Elliott, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, Aliette de Bodard, Michael Moorcock, Melanie Rawn, Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Trudi Canavan,  and Juliet Marillier all contributed stories to this volume.

Epic: Legends of Fantasy opens with a novella by Robin Ho... Read More

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four

The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Four edited by Ellen Datlow

Anything Ellen Datlow edits automatically finds a place on my list of books to read. For many years, this included the excellent anthology series The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, which Datlow coedited with Terri Windling. When that series disappeared, much to the dismay of fans of short fiction everywhere, Datlow undertook to publish The Year’s Best Horror, which has been published by the terrific smaller press, Night Shade Books, for the past four years. This year’s volume, the fourth, is chock full of memorable stories certain to keep you up at night.
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After: Like panning for gold

After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia by editors Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

When I saw the new Datlow and Windling anthology After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia, I was so excited. I love YA fiction, I love dyslit, I love short story anthologies and I love Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling as editors, so I figured it was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, my reading experience didn’t live up to my expectations.

After is an anthology of short stories set after. After what? Alien invasion, plague, environmental collapse, asteroid strike, it doesn’t matter. Just after. This leaves a lot of room for the authors to be creative, as they all can choose different afters to explore, and it leaves the anthology feeling a bit disjointed as you hop from one disaster to another. Technically, most of th... Read More

The 2012 Novelette Nominees for the Shirley Jackson Award

This week Terry looks at the four novelettes nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, which will be presented at Readercon. This year Readercon will take place July 12 through 15, in Burlington, Massachusetts.

“Omphalos” by Livia Llewellyn, is the first nomination for this writer whose first book, The Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors is also nominated in the single-author collection category (“Omphalos” appears in the collection). It is about a horrifically dysfunctional family in which every family member seems to be having sex with every other family member of the opposite sex, whether th... Read More

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be ma... Read More