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Jonathan Carroll

Jonathan Carroll(1949- )
Outside the Dog Museum won the British Fantasy Society’s award for best novel in 1992. Some of Jonathan Carroll’s other novels have been nominated for World Fantasy, Arthur C. Clarke, and Bram Stoker awards. Besides the novels presented here, Jonathan Carroll has written numerous award-winning short stories. Jonathan Carroll’s website.

The Land of Laughs: An entertaining and thought-provoking tale

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

The Land of Laughs was written back in 1980 and I wonder how many readers know about it now. It’s written by Jonathan Carroll, who has written a number of offbeat modern fantasies, and I only know about it because it was selected by David Pringle for his Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels. Even that is probably not enough to put it on most radars, but Neil Gaiman also chose it for his “Neil Gaiman Presents” series of audiobooks, so I listened to it during a series of long walks along Tokyo Bay in Rinkai Park. It’s narrated by Edoardo Ballerini, who does a nice job of capturing the strange events of the story.

The Read More

Bones of the Moon: Got sent back

Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll

I know Bones of the Moon by Jonathan Carroll has gotten really good reviews, and is supposed to be the source material for the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman, but 50 pages in to the story, I didn’t care about any of the characters and the only fantastical thing that had happened was the main character, a self-involved woman named Cullen, started having weird serial dreams about a talking dog and a young boy named Pepsi.

Not caring about any of the characters is bad enough, but I also didn’t care enough about the setting — switching back and forth between a sterile New York and an idyllic Europe that felt like a pretentious foreign film starring the kind of people that like pretentious foreign films. I also had a problem with Cullen having an abortion for reasons of con... Read More

Teaching the Dog to Read: A surreal trip

Teaching the Dog to Read by Jonathan Carroll

Anthony Areal, a forgettable, average man, trending toward wet noodle, is astonished one day to receive an anonymous gift in the mail containing the watch of his dreams: a gorgeous $9,000 Lichtenberg ‘Figure’ wristwatch. For a few minutes he’s afraid it is a dream: the watch will probably disappear or turn into a pumpkin when he touches it. But the watch stays on Tony’s arm when he puts it there, and it’s followed a week later by his fantasy car, an $80,000 gray Porsche Cayman GTS, registered in his name. Tony is delighted. His co-workers are astounded. Lena Schabort, the office temptress, suddenly reevaluates Tony’s worth, personal as well as net.

When Tony meets his benefactor, it is the “night shift” version of Tony himself, who lives in Tony's dreams and can in some measure actually direct and control those dreams, making them become reality. Tony Ni... Read More

SHORTS: Carroll, Yoachim, Anders, Haldeman, Rusch, Herbert and Anderson

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week:

“The Loud Table” by Jonathan Carroll (Nov. 2016, free at, 99c Kindle version)

A group of retired old men meets every day at a coffee shop to hang out most of the day and shoot the breeze. They live for each other's company, so they're bewildered and alarmed when the coffee shop manager announces that the café is closing for two months for renovations. After considering and discarding several other options, they wind up at Tough Nut, a gay café. They end ... Read More

SHORTS: Carroll, Dick, Howard, Schanoes, Divya

This week's roundup of free short SFF on the internet contains some great old and new stories.

“The Stolen Church” by Jonathan Carroll (2009, free at Conjunctions, also in The Woman Who Married a Cloud: The Collected Short Stories)

Tina and Stanley, married for five years, are in the lobby of a nondescript apartment building, waiting for an elevator to take them up to visit his parents. The only problem is, Stanley’s parents are dead. Tina can’t understand what Stanley is thinking, whether he’s seriou... Read More

SHORTS: Larson, Carroll, St. George, Yang

SHORTS: The annual Halloween edition. Our horror-themed column this week, reviewing some recent online short fiction works, features demon babies, slasher film heroines, ghosts and more.

“Growing and Growing” by Rich Larson (2019, free at Nightmare Magazine)

Ignacio and Hector are on their way home after a night of drinking when they find a baby crying in the middle of the road. Ignacio decides to bring it home for the night so he can take it to the hospital in the morning. But on the way home, the friends begin to realize that something about this abandoned baby is not quite right…

“Growing and Growing” is a very short (12 minute) creepy tale that works great in the audio format performed by Stefan Rudnicki, one of my favo... Read More

Other novels by Jonathan Carroll

White Apples & Glass Soup — (2002, 2005) Publisher: Vincent Ettrich, a genial philanderer, discovers that he has died and come back to life, but he has no idea why, or what the experience was like. Pushed and prodded by peculiar omens and personalities, he gradually learns that he was brought back by his one true love, Isabelle, because she is pregnant with their child — a child who, if raised correctly, will play a crucial role in saving the cosmic mosaic that is the universe. But to be brought up right, he must be educated by his father. Specifically, he must be taught what Ettrich learned on the other side — if only Ettrich can remember it!

book review Jonathan Carroll White Applesbook review Jonathan Carroll Glass Soupfantasy and science fiction book reviews

book review Jonathan Carroll Voice of Our ShadowVoice of Our Shadow — (1983) Publisher: For Joe Lennox, successful young writer, Vienna provides a refuge from the tragedy of his brother’s death, until he starts up a friendship with the eccentric India Tate and her magician husband Paul. Gradually Joe falls in love with India, but Paul finds out — before he suddenly drops dread. And now Joe has two deaths on his conscience and another voice calling from beyond the grave…

book review Jonathan Carroll Outside the Dog MuseumOutside the Dog Museum — (1991) Publisher: A novel of love,death,and architecture H arry Radcliffe is a prize-winning architect, witty and remarkable. He’s also a self-serving opportunist, ready to take advantage of whatever situations — and women — come his way. But now, newly divorced after an inexplicable nervous breakdown, Harry is being wooed by the wealthy Sultan of Saru to design a billion-dollar dog museum. In Saru,he finds himself in a world even madder and more unreal than the one he left behind, and as his obsession grows, the powers of magic weave around him, and the implications of his strange undertakinggrow more ominous and astounding. Outside the Dog Museumis a novel to surprise, provoke the mind, and haunt the review Jonathan Carroll From the Teeth of Angels

From the Teeth of Angels — (1994) Publisher: A dying man can suddenly raise the dead… Death visits a vacationer in a dream, ready to make a deal… An actress abruptly walks out on her fast-lane life in Hollywood — and their fates converge in Jonathan Carroll’s daring imagination.

The Panic HandThe Panic Hand — (1995) Publisher: Through the course of his eight unforgettable novels, Jonathan Carroll has earned comparisons to writers as diverse as Herman Hesse, Stephen King, Mark Helprin, Shirley Jackson, C. S. Lewis, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and John Milton. As this volume of shorter fiction demonstrates, however, Jonathan Carroll is one of a kind. The twenty stories collected here transmit the same intense charges of intellect and emotion that characterize Carroll’s longer works. Among the many pleasures are:. “Friend’s Best Man” — An award-winning story about a dog that teaches its owner the real and very frightening meaning of “The Animal Kingdom;” “Black Cocktail” — A short novel about a high-school kid who never grew up — literally;. “The Sadness of Detail” — What are we to do when contacted by angels? What are we to do when one makes an offer we can’t refuse?; and. “A Flash in the Pants ” — Original to this volume — a story about a beautiful stranger and a house that remembers all too well its previous owners.

book review Jonathan Carroll Kissing the BeehiveKissing The Beehive — (1997) Publisher: Bestselling author Sam Bayer is stuck.  Burned out from his third divorce, bored with the formulaic rut his writing has fallen into, and unable to deliver the manuscript for which he has been paid a stratospheric advance, he is desperate for inspiration.  But a chance visit to his hometown of Crane’s View, New York, sparks his imagination.  Soon he immerses himself in an unsolved case of murder that took place when he was a teenager — Sam himself had discovered the body of the victim, a beautiful and wild teenage girl named Pauline.  At the same time he is drawn into an explosive affair with a gorgeous but seriously loopy fan with the improbable name of Veronica Lake. As Sam learns the disturbing facts about his lover’s past, Pauline’s murderer reappears — not only endangering Sam but putting his beloved fifteen-year-old daughter in jeopardy as well.  Not knowing whom to trust, Sam has to brace himself for the truly unexpected resolution to this decades-old mystery.

book review Jonathan Carroll The Marriage of SticksThe Marriage of Sticks — (2000) Publisher: Returning to her class reunion, Miranda Romanac has her heart set on meeting James Stillman, her first boyfriend, once again. Her life’s never quite measured up to the ideal he represented for her but she is devastated to learn that he died three years before, in a car crash. Her life settles back into routine in New York, and she meets the fabulous Frances Hatch, mistress of many of the great in Paris in the twenties, and at the same time starts an affair with a married man. At which point she sees James Stillman, waving to her across the street. And her life changes forever. Confronted, literally, by the lives she’s ruined one way or another, she learns the horrifying truth about herself and her own immortal review Jonathan Carroll The Wooden Sea

The Wooden Sea —  (2001) Publisher: From the moment a three-legged dog limps into the comfortable life of Crane’s View Police Chief Frannie McCabe and drops dead at her feet, McCabe’s life is forever altered. The decisions McCabe makes over the next week will have enormous impact on his life, and on the fate of the world as well.

book review Jonathan Carroll The Ghost in Love The Ghost in Love — (2008) This title will be published on September 30, 2008. Publisher: Welcome to the luminous and marvelously inventive world of The Ghost in Love. A man falls in the snow, hits his head on a curb, and dies. But something strange occurs: the man doesn’t die, and the ghost that’s been sent to take his soul to the afterlife is flabbergasted. Going immediately to its boss, the ghost asks, what should I do now? The boss says, we don’t know how this happened but we’re working on it. We want you to stay with this man to help us figure out what’s going on. The ghost agrees unhappily; it is a ghost, not a nursemaid. But a funny thing happens — the ghost falls madly in love with the man’s girlfriend, and things naturally get complicated. Soon afterward, the man discovers he did not die when he was “supposed” to because for the first time in their history, human beings have decided to take their fates back from the gods. It’s a wonderful change, but one that comes at a price. The Ghost in Love is about what happens to us when we discover that we have become the masters of our own fate. No excuses, no outside forces or gods to blame — the responsibility is all our own. It’s also about love, ghosts that happen to be gourmet cooks, talking dogs, and picnicking in the rain with yourself at twenty different ages.

book review Jonathan Carroll The Woman Who Married a CloudThe Woman Who Married a Cloud — (2012) Publisher: Described by Michael Dirda in The Washington Post as ‘sexy, eery and addictive’, the fiction of Jonathan Carroll occurs at the point where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the commonplace becomes unsettling, and yet where we nonetheless always recognize the stories being told because they are always about ourselves and what happens in our deepest, sometimes darkest hearts. Always better known as a novelist — readers first experienced Carroll s elegant, eloquent, wondrous, terrible and often surreal fiction in his classic debut The Land of Laughs, which he followed with Bones of the Moon, Sleeping in Flame, A Child Across the Sky, and others — Carroll has also created a compelling and deeply moving body of short fiction. Perhaps more eclectic and slant-wise than some of his novels, stories like World Fantasy Award winning ‘Friend’s Best Man’ and Pushcart Prize and Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire honouree ‘Home on the Rain’ stand amongst his very best work. The Woman Who Married a Cloud: Collected Stories is the best and most complete collection of Jonathan Carroll’s fiction ever published. It collects 38 stories written across a thirty year long career, a number appearing here in print for the first time, in a single landmark volume that stands as the perfect introduction to this unique and wonderful writer.