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Richard Bowes

Richard Bowes(1944- )
Richard Bowes writes urban fantasy and science fiction and has won a World Fantasy Award. Learn more at Richard Bowes’website.

Feral Cell: Performance-art-fantasy

Feral Cell  by Richard Bowes

Richard Bowes published Feral Cell in 1986. It’s set in 1999, the last year of the second millennium, in New York City, which is starting, to “go bad” as many other cities before it have. It’s not clear exactly what is making the city go bad. Is it the strange weather, as summers grow hotter and winters grow shorter and drier? Is it the selfishness and complacency of the wealthy and the desperation of the young people? Is it the use of more and different drugs? Robert Leal, a self-described “game-master” who produces elaborate fantasies for bored wealthy people, is too busy with his own problems to think much about it, but in Chapter One, when a strange boy appears out of thin air to threaten him with a bone weapon, he has to accept that strange things are happening in his city.

Leal has distractions: physical pain that is a harbinger of a serious... Read More

The Queen, the Cambion and Seven Others: Thoroughly delightful short collection

The Queen, the Cambion and Seven Others by Richard Bowes

The Queen, the Cambion and Seven Others is a thoroughly delightful short collection of fairy tales and fantasies, published by the small press, Aqueduct Press.

Richard Bowes opens with “Seven Smiles and Seven Frowns,” in which a woman remembers listening to the stories told by the Witch of the Forest of Avalon when she was a girl. One particular story, ending in a typical “he carried the princess off and they lived happily ever after” fashion, displeases her twelve-year-old self. The witch tells her she’ll like the next night’s story better, and indeed, the alternate version of the tale from the night before, with a much different ending for prince and princess, suits her down to her toes. That is how she becomes the apprentice of the witch, and begins to formulate not only her own tales, but new versions of the old tales, including the one that made her... Read More

Magazine Monday: Short Fiction Fun

Many years ago, I cornered John Kessel at a fantasy conference just because I wanted to be able to say that I'd had a conversation with a writer and scholar I admired. Unfortunately for poor Kessel, I ran out of things to say to him right after, "I love your work!" I still have a reverence for writers that renders me tongue-tied in no time at all. Don't they seem like the most magical beings, writers? People who can come up with all that weird stuff right out of their heads?

Anyway, Kessel took pity on me and started talking about how much he loves short fiction. He named authors and stories and magazines, filling my brain with notebooks full of mental jottings. Once I got home, I immediately started pulling out my back issues of the Magazine of Fantasy &... Read More

Magazine Monday: Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2012

The March/April issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction is worth its cover price for the new Peter S. Beagle novelet all by itself. In “Olfert Dapper’s Day,” Beagle demonstrates that there are still new tales to tell about unicorns if you’re a master of the short fantasy tale. Dr. Olfert Dapper was a seventeenth century conman who wrote books about the strange creatures to be found all over the world, even though he never left Holland – that is, the actual historical figure never left Holland. In Beagle’s imagination, though, Dapper flees Utrecht just in time to avoid arrest, taking flight for the New World. He winds up in in No Popery, in the “vaguely delineated colony” of Maine. There, he is more or less forced to become the medical doctor he has purported to be, without much justific... Read More

Magazine Monday: Uncanny Magazine, Issues One and Two

Uncanny Magazine is a new bimonthly internet publication edited by Lynn M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. The editors have explained their mission this way:
We chose the name Uncanny because we wanted a publication that has the feel of a contemporary magazine with a history — one that evolved from a fantastic pulp. Uncanny will bring the excitement and possibilities of the past, and the sensibilities and experimentation that the best of the present offers. . . . It’s our goal that Uncanny’s pages will be filled with gorgeous prose, exciting ideas, provocative essays, and contributors from every possible background.
Issue One opens with “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” by Maria Dahvana Headley, in which the animal stars of movies and television have p... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nebula-Nominated Novelettes, 2014

Here are the novelettes nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award:

“We Are the Cloud” by Sam J. Miller is narrated by Angel Quinones, nicknamed Sauro because he likes dinosaurs — though the other kids in his twelfth group home believe it’s because he’s as big as a dinosaur. Sauro is just about to age out of the system, and that’s even worse than the horror of being in the system. Sauro meets Case when one of the other boys is beating him up outside Sauro’s door. Sauro immediately desires Case, even though desire is dangerous, and he avoids it whenever he can; but this time, he knows he can’t. And Case, the only white boy Sauro has ever seen in a group home, desires Sauro right back. Both boys have cloud ports in their heads, ... Read More

SHORTS: Bowes, de Bodard, Larson, Yoachim

Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few excellent stories, including three more from the current crop of Nebula and Hugo award nominees. 

Dirty Old Town by Richard Bowes (2017, Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, May/June 2017 issue; PDF is temporarily free here, courtesy of F&SF). 2018 Nebula award nominee (novelette)

Richard Bowes is no stranger to semi-autobiographical work. He returns to that form here in his novelette Read More

The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011: Sample the best SFF

The Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 edited by Kevin J. Anderson

The Nebula Awards are one of the great institutions in science fiction and fantasy. Each year since 1965, the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have voted for the Best Novel, Novella (40,000-17,500 words), Novelette (17,500-7,500 words), and Short Story (less than 7,500 words) in SF and fantasy. Compiling a list of the nominees and winners for all those years would get you an excellent reading list and a comprehensive cross-view of the best that can be found in the genres. To make this task easier, every Nebu... Read More

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

Other books by Richard Bowes

Warchild — (1999) Publisher: In every quadrant in time telepathic and mysterious beings are manipulating the very fabric of the universe, seeking ultimate control. On one world, the wise leader of the Republic valiantly tries to contain the atrocities of marauding, savage hordes. On another, people are bought and sold as chattel in the dreaded Goblin Market. And everywhere, the insidious influence of the Riders is felt, as they steal and enslave human minds. But in the void of the Time Lanes, a boy with telepathic powers he has yet to discover has entered the portal where all world are joined. Young and untried, a loner with much to learn, he must now become the legendary Warchild, if the universe is ever to survive…

Richard Bowes WarchildRichard Bowes Warchild, Goblin Market

Richard Bowes novel Minions of the Moon reviewMinions of the Moon — (1999) Publisher: Kevin Grierson has a Shadow with a mind of its own. It likes thrills, it likes power, it likes the rush of drugs and danger. From the suburbs of Boston to the streets of New York, from the false glamour of advertising to the dark glamour of hustling and drug-dealing. Grierson’s Shadow keeps him walking the edge of destruction and madness. Then a simple robbery goes horribly wrong. With the help of a flawed saint named Leo Dunn, Grierson struggles to banish his Shadow, and succeeds. Temporarily. Years later, sober and settled, at peace with his world, Kevin Grierson meets his Shadow again. And this time it won’t go away.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsTransfigured Night: And Other Stories — (2001) Publisher: Four never-before-reprinted stories from one of science fiction’s brightest new talents, including the World Fantasy Award winning novella Streetcar Dreams, which became the basis of the Lambda Award Winning novel, Minions of the Moon. Plus an all-new novella, My Life in Speculative Fiction, a masterpiece of twisted narcissism in which the narrator, a gay SF/Fantasy writer in contemporary New York, is caught by half-buried memories and begins to search for his own youthful self — a search that will lead into strange new lands and relationships, where the line separating fiction and reality blurs and finally disappears all together…

book review Richard Bowes From the Files of the Time RangersFrom the Files of the Time Rangers — (2005) Publisher: Greek gods are posing as humans and pulling humanity’s strings in this mosaic novel about time travel, alternate worlds, and the making of a president. The Time Rangers, Apollo’s chosen servants, are in charge of preserving the peace and harmony along the Time Stream, the pathway between various worlds and times, but Apollo has given them a new task — to protect Timothy Macauley, the chosen one who must become the president of the United States or else witness the destruction of humankind. Standing in the Rangers’s way are other gods: Mercury, who’s working his wiles in the world of public relations; Diana, cruising New York City in the guise of an NYPD detective; Pluto, who is in the process of grooming his successor; and Dionysus, who has caused the annihilation of an alternate world. Nonstop action keeps the story rolling from the 1950s to the present day, through this world and others. The author shares his insights into, and the history of, the mosaic novel in the afterworld.

Richard Bowes WarchildStreetcar Dreams: And Other Midnight Fancies — (2005) Publisher: “Streetcar Dreams” is the World Fantasy Award-winning kernel of Bowes’ exceptional dark fantasy novel of addiction and recovery, Minions of the Moon (1999). It’s a helluva story, about how a gay man went all the way to the bottom when young, faithfully and destructively attended by his doppelganger, but then walked away from addiction and the double, and now, in middle age, hears that his shadow wants to see him again. Its five volume mates have similar settings, periods, plot and character details, themes, structures, and atmosphere, making Bowes seem rather a one-trick pony. But so do William S. Burroughs and John Rechy, two writers Bowes mentions in the semiautobiographical “My Life in Speculative Fiction,” which suggests that he knows the Boston, New York, gay hustling, and drugs he writes about all too personally. And the purely fictional pieces have their well-realized distinctions, such as a compelling female protagonist in “Someday I Shall Rise and Go” and a plunge into ghastly horror in “Transfigured Night.” Very exciting, somber stuff. (ALA)

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsDust Devil on a Quiet Street — (2013) Publisher: Dust Devil on a Quiet Street chronicles the remarkable life of Boston-born, New York City-reared author Richard Bowes’s childhood and adolescent brushes with dramatic spirits and hustlers, large and small, paved the way for his adult encounters with the remarkable, the numinous, the supernatural. Deftly orchestrated, this ”memoir” is part impassioned homage to Manhattan decades before and up to its recent wound on September 11th, which creates a hole in the city and allows the ghosts of the dead to return and part tell-all of the uncanny secrets behind life as a university librarian and a group of Greenwich Village writers.