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SFF Author: Gemma Files

Gemma Files(1968- )
Born in London, England, Gemma Files is the child of two actors (Elva Mai Hoover and Gary Files), and has lived most of her life in Toronto, Canada. Previously best known as a film critic, teacher and screenwriter, she first broke onto the horror scene when her short story “The Emperor’s Old Bones” won the International Horror Guild’s 1999 award for Best Short Fiction. Her current bibliography includes two collections of short work (Kissing Carrion and The Worm in Every Heart, both Prime Books) and two chapbooks of poetry (Bent Under Night, from Sinnersphere Productions, and Dust Radio, from Kelp Queen Press). Files is married to fellow author Stephen J. Barringer, with whom she co-wrote the story “each thing i show you is a piece of my death” for Clockwork Phoenix 2 (Norilana Books). They have one son.


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A Book of Tongues: A strong talent is at work here

A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files

A western horror story full of gay gunslingers and the Pinkerton men they seduce – sometimes you can understand why people ask writers where they get their ideas, because Gemma Files sure has a humdinger of one with this first novel. Throw in some Mayan mythology and a lot of magic, and you’ve got a plot that comes at you so fast and furiously that you have to put the book down just to catch your breath.

A Book of Tongues is Volume One of the HEXSLINGER Series,


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Magazine Monday: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issues 131-133

Issue 131 is the fifth anniversary issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and it has five extraordinary tales.  The first is “Cherry Blossoms on the River of Souls” by Richard Parks.  Parks’ tales, usually set in an unnamed Asian country that bears a close resemblance to Japan, often deal with characters who need to find themselves.  This tale is no different.  Hiroshi, a boy, tends to stare down a dry well in much of his free time, for to him the well is full of music.  No one else can hear it,


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Magazine Monday: Nightmare Magazine, Women Destroy Horror Issue

I wouldn’t normally review a magazine from last month, but the October issue of Nightmare Magazine is something special, and it’s still available. In this issue, Women Destroy Horror! Issue 25 is devoted to horror written by women, the result of a Kickstarter originally intended to help women destroy science fiction (in the June 2014 issue of Lightspeed Magazine) that met its stretch goals. (Full disclosure: I contributed to the Kickstarter.)

The guest fiction editor of this issue is Ellen Datlow, who is the foremost horror editor working today,


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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.


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The Monstrous: You can’t go wrong with Datlow

The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Whenever I see Ellen Datlow’s name as editor on the cover of an anthology, I know I’m in good hands. Datlow has a made a thirty-plus year career of choosing good stories and developing collections that take different aims at the theme. The theme of The Monstrous is monsters, and Datlow makes sure to explore all facets of that word with this mostly-reprint anthology from Tachyon Press.

There are twenty stories in the book. One is original to the anthology.


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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: Joseph Fink
Previous SFF Author: Jasper Fforde

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