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Previous SFF Author: Leslie Barringer

SFF Author: Laird Barron

(1970- )
Laird Barron was born in Alaska, where he raised and trained huskies for many years. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in the mid 90s and began to concentrate on writing poetry and fiction. His award-nominated work has appeared in Sci Fiction, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and has been reprinted in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Year’s Best Fantasy 6 and Best New Fantasy: 2005. Mr. Barron currently resides in Olympia, Washington and is hard at work on many projects, including a novel. Learn more at LairdBarron’s website.



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Occultation and Other Stories: A horror collection

Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron

According to Webster’s, “occultation” means “the state of being hidden from view or lost to notice” or “the shutting off of the light of one celestial body by the intervention of another; esp: an eclipse of a star or planet by the moon.”  Both definitions seem appropriate to Laird Barron’s collection, Occultation and Other Stories, the latter as metaphor, because Barron can scare you as much with what remains hidden in his stories as with what he drags from the shadows and exposes to your horrified view.


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Magazine Monday: Phantasmagorium #2

It took an act of faith for me to read the new issue of Phantasmagorium – the second in its run. The first quarterly issue, published in October 2011, was disappointing despite its lovely cover photograph, which suggests an angel taking flesh from a stone sculpture. A few stories were well-written, but not particularly original or frightening:  Scott Nicolay’s “Alligators,” Simon Strantzas’s “Strong as a Rock” and Stephen Graham Jones’s “No Takebacks.” They were overwhelmed by the inexplicable “Cardoons!” by Anna Tambour,


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Magazine Monday: Nightmare, Inaugural Issue

The magazine isn’t horrible; it’s in the horror genre.  Perhaps reading about a great magazine — and then reading the magazine itself — will make your Monday more bearable!

John Joseph Adams, editor of the well-regarded science fiction and fantasy e-journal, Lightspeed, as well as numerous excellent anthologies, has launched a new horror e-zine, Nightmare. It will feature two reprint stories along with two original stories each month, along with in-depth interviews, short interviews with each author whose story is featured in the issue,


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Magazine Monday: Nightmare, June 2013

Issue 9 of Nightmare opens with “The House on Cobb Street” by Lynda E. Rucker. There is a long italicized quotation from a purported learned treatise about the house at the top of the story, reciting the history of so-called Cobb Street Horror, but noting that the witnesses have refused to speak to the author. Another italicized segment comes from the blog of Perry “Pear Tree” Parry, referring to a video of Felicia Barrow, speaking of Vivian Crane, who has disappeared. The entire story has the aura of a scholarly piece,


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Magazine Monday: Primeval: A Journal of the Uncanny, Issue One

The first issue of Primeval: A Journal of the Uncanny, wasn’t what I expected. I thought I was getting a magazine featuring horror stories and essays about horror. Primeval’s self-description on its website didn’t lead me to expect anything different, poetically explaining that it is a publication that examines “the convergence of contemporary anxiety and ancient impulse.” Sounds very Lovecraftian, doesn’t it? The website also promises that each issue will feature “fiction and essays exploring horror, the macabre, and that which should not be — yet is.” And yet,


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Supernatural Noir: A Datlow anthology

Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow suggests in her introduction to Supernatural Noir that noir fiction and supernatural fiction, with its roots in the gothic, have a lot in common. The main character in each tends to be a hard-living guy, usually down to his last flask of scotch, haunted by a sexy dame whose middle name is trouble. So it seemed natural to her to combine the two genres for an original anthology.

Despite my general rule that any anthology edited by Ellen Datlow is one I want to read,


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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.


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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,


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The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: For a dose of crazy genius

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is the latest themed anthology edited by John Joseph Adams — and it’s another good one. This time, Adams has collected a set of short stories featuring the hero’s (or often superhero’s) traditional antagonist: the mad genius, the super-villain, the brilliant sociopath who wants to remold the world in his own image — or occasionally, maybe, just be left alone in his secret lair to conduct spine-tingling experiments that,


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Cthuthlu Fhtagn!: Variety is the spice of the Elder Gods

Cthuthlu Fhtagn! edited by Ross Lockhart

Usually, I shy away from reviewing books whose name I can’t pronounce. Since this title is in the language of the Elder Gods, though, it’s probably better that I can’t pronounce it. Aklo, H.P. Lovecraft’s mystical language, was never meant for human voices to speak anyway, as editor Ross Lockhart explains in his introduction. Lockhart also informs us that the meaning of “Fhtagn” was given to him in a dream (presumably by the Old Ones) and it means “house.” Anyway,


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Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

This anthology comes after a similarly titled anthology, also edited by Ellen Datlow, called Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror which came out in March 2010. Datlow also edits an annual anthology of horror fiction (collaborating with other editors on those). It seems then that Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (which came out in October 2016) is informed by a great deal of knowledge in the field of speculative horror literature.


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Next SFF Author: T.A. Barron
Previous SFF Author: Leslie Barringer

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