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Lisa Mantchev

Lisa MantchevLisa Mantchev has been involved in writing, acting, directing, and producing theatre since the fourth grade. She studied drama at the University of California, Irvine. After graduation, Ms. Mantchev taught English at the Lycée Internationale de Los Angeles and created their Drama After School Program. She lives in Washington state with her husband, daughter, and four dogs. Learn more at Lisa Mantchev’s website.


Eyes Like Stars: Fresh, Original, Fun

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

I confess, I’ve been put off by YA books a lot lately. The trends seem to lean towards dark and “edgy” books (many of which sound depressing) and Twilight clones and wannabes. I can deal with the former, but the latter isn’t my thing. But while I was browsing one day, the cover of Eyes Likes Stars caught my attention (not surprising, since it’s gorgeous). I read the blurb and decided I had to get it; it sounded fresh, original, and fun. And it very much is.

Lisa Mantchev has created something special with her Theatre Illuminata. In the Theatre, all the characters from all the plays ever written exist, to be called upon at need (mostly) when plays are staged. (Note: I don’t consider this a spoiler. Though Bertie suffers some astonishment at one po... Read More

Spicy Slipstream Stories: If you love pulps…

Spicy Slipstream Stories edited by Nick Namatas & Jay Lake

Slipstream, for me, is a type of fiction that is bizarre and confusing and defies expectations. That's not a bad thing, mind you, but to quote a passage from the introduction of the book, "You don't write slipstream, you read it." And so it was a big surprise when I started reading the stories in this anthology. They're actually — gasp — readable, or at least accessible to lay people without needing literary degrees or geeky credentials. In fact, the selections impressed me because they all stood out, and I can honestly say there's no bad story in this book. If I have any complaints with this anthology, surprisingly enough, it's because I feel some of the stories aren't that slipstream, that they're still too coherent and identifiable. But is that really such a bad trait?

The pulp influences this anthology draws upon might not be evident from the title, but one loo... Read More

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded is the second steampunk anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, following 2008’s first installment. It contains about twice as many stories as its predecessor, but unlike the first collection the quality is more uneven here, resulting in a less impressive but still fascinating anthology that should please fans of the genre.

While the first anthology only contained one story I was less than happy with, there are at least four or five in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded that I could have done without. There are also a few stories here that are at best marginally connected to steampunk, although that probably depends more on how you define steampunk. After all, there are probably as many definitions of steampunk as there are readers. Maybe the best way to defin... Read More