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SFF Author: Peter Straub

Peter Straub(1943- )
Born in Milwaukee, Peter Straub is the author of fourteen novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages. He has won the British Fantasy Award, two Bram Stoker awards and two World Fantasy awards.


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The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine: Too much for my delicate senses

The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine by Peter Straub

Ballard, a wealthy businessman, and Sandrine, his much younger lover, are cruising down the Amazon River in a mysterious yacht. The crew is never seen, blank-eyed natives watch the boat from the river’s shores, and there seems to be a dangerous predator in the river. The dimensions of the yacht don’t make sense, the delicious food is unidentifiable, and it’s not clear how long Ballard and Sandrine have been on the boat.

Presumably, they’re taking a vacation somewhere out of the reach of Ballard’s clients and Sandrine’s husband,


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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, Issue 2

It’s not the magazine that’s horrible; it’s that the magazine contains horror fiction. A perfect mood setter for Halloween!

Because Wednesday is Halloween, here’s another serving of the new magazine Nightmare, edited by John Joseph Adams. The second issue of this new online magazine makes me think we’ve got something special going here: the fiction is excellent, the nonfiction informative, the art compelling.

The first story in this issue is “Construction Project” by Desirina Boskovich. The married couple who tell this story in first person plural believe that a creature is waiting for them should they drop their guard for even a moment.


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Magazine Monday: Nightmare, September 2013

Nightmare has made it for a year now: the September issue is the twelfth. Based on the quality of the magazine to date, I hope it manages to at least cube that number.

“Halfway Home” by Linda Nagata is the first original story in this issue. It’s a stunner set in the real world; no supernatural beings or powers are at work here, just human evil.  It starts so prosaically that one is lulled into a false sense of security, even boredom. Two women are speaking to one another as their flight leaves from the Philippines for Los Angeles. 


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Black Thorn, White Rose: So many wonderful stories

Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Black Thorn, White Rose is the second in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling‘s series of adult fairy-tale anthologies. I’d have to say that this is my favorite of the bunch; most of the volumes are good, but this one has so many wonderful stories that have stayed with me for years. A few highlights:

“Stronger Than Time,” by Patricia C. Wrede , is a sad but hopeful take on “Sleeping Beauty,”


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The 2012 Novelette Nominees for the Shirley Jackson Award

This week Terry looks at the four novelettes nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, which will be presented at Readercon. This year Readercon will take place July 12 through 15, in Burlington, Massachusetts.

“Omphalos” by Livia Llewellyn, is the first nomination for this writer whose first book, The Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors is also nominated in the single-author collection category (“Omphalos” appears in the collection). It is about a horrifically dysfunctional family in which every family member seems to be having sex with every other family member of the opposite sex,


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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 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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International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Part Three

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Lunch on Friday included a presentation by the scholar guest of honor, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. His talk was entitled “Undead,” and was a meditation on the meaning of that word — or, in other words, on zombies. Undead does not, Cohen noted, mean that the undead thing is alive; it is a restless state from which monsters arise. What is behind the shift in our literature from ghosts to zombies? Zombies pose no challenge to our minds, as ghosts do, but just want to eat our brains,


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Next SFF Author: Victoria Strauss
Previous SFF Author: Jordan Stratford

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