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Lisa Tuttle

Lisa Tuttle(1952- )
Lisa Tuttle won the 1974 John W. Campbell Best New Author Award. She has also won a Nebula and an Aurthur C Clarke Award. Lisa Tuttle also writes science fiction and horror.

The Pillow Friend: Too much for one book

The Pillow Friend by Lisa Tuttle

The Pillow Friend, by Lisa Tuttle, straddles two categories of fiction, psychological horror and the more conventional quasi-literary “women’s fiction.” Tuttle’s prose is exquisite. She is able to describe the thoughts and impulses of a girl growing toward womanhood in an immediate, authentic way. Her ability to set mood and place cannot be doubted. The book is dark and disturbing, but at the end, it felt less like a horror story and more like a report on a woman’s descent into insanity.

The book introduces us to Agnes Gray when she is six years old, growing up in Houston, Texas in the early sixties. Tuttle’s description of place is flawless. I could feel the wall of heat, smell fresh-cut grass and stale cigarette smoke.

Agnes is the youngest of three children. She has twin sisters who are about six years older than her, who are ... Read More

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007

In many ways, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2007 anthology is a difficult book to review. For one thing, to me and a lot of my reading/writing circle, this is easily the definitive bible when it comes to short stories of the genre. For another, many of the stories that are included in this collection have been featured in other anthologies as well, so there's an overlap in terms of stories featured. But I'll try and talk about what makes this anthology unique from other similar anthologies.

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is quite comprehensive about its subject matter, not just featuring short stories but poems and articles. The first dozen pages are articles summarizing the important events that happened in the two genres including the obituaries of the previous year. That’s really quite valuable from an archiving standpoint, an... Read More

The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008

For me, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 has been a two-headed beast. On one hand, it's an eagerly anticipated book by people involved in the industry, usually for the summation at the front of the book and the honorable mentions list at the back. The various editors are quite thorough and detailed when it comes to this part. The other aspect is, of course, the story/poetry selection, which is what will likely attract the casual reader.

So, how does it actually fare? Well, with regards to the first aspect, there are no disappointments. When covering the highlights of the previous year (and alas, the obituaries) and the various media (comics, movies, and music) in which either fantasy or horror plays a part, the book has it covered. The writing is functional and achieves what it sets out to do.

With regard to the stories and poems, this is a wel... Read More

Songs of Love and Death: Tales of star-crossed lovers

Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Songs of Love and Death is the third anthology that George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have edited together. Like Warriors and Songs of the Dying EarthSongs of Love and Death brings together some of the biggest names that SFF has to offer and they set these authors to work on a common theme.

Martin and Dozois offer a cross-genre anthology that ranges from Robin Hobb’s epic fantasy “Blue Boots,” which tells the story of a romance between a young serving girl and a silver-tongued minstrel, to  Read More

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be ma... Read More

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. I am not generally a horror reader, but I still thoroughly enjoyed many tales in this anthology for their engaging storytelling and terrifying themes. What follows is a brief review of each of the 25 tales, in the order which they appear.

“Shallaballah” by Mark Samuels is a story about th... Read More

More books by Lisa Tuttle

Lisa Tuttle Familiar Spirit

Familiar Spirit — (1983) Publisher: Now that her life with Brian was over, she would have a home of her own. She could begin again. But something was waiting for Sarah in her new house, waiting to welcome her, to make her feel at home. Something was waiting for Sarah in the night with golden eyes that glowed and burned, commanding her obedience, demanding her soul, promising her… Sarah tried to escape the power, but night after night it drew her back, filling her with screaming horror one moment, and relentless, burning pleasure the next. She tried to escape the house, to fight the evil. But she came back. She will always come back because she is now, never alone…Lisa Tuttle Gabriel, Catwitch

Catwitch — (1983) With Una Woodruff. Publisher: Having been taught reading, writing, and a little magic by his owner, Jules the kitten is persuaded by fairies that appear through the television set to return with them to fairyland and help save their captive prince.

Lisa Tuttle Gabriel, CatwitchGabriel (1987) Publisher: Gabriel swore he would always love her. And then he died. A decade later, when Dinah meets Ben, she is amazed to find Gabriel’s penetrating eyes, his knowing smile, in a 10-year-old boy. When he says he loves her, Dinah is amused — then frightened. Because he means it.

Lisa Tuttle fantasy book reviews: Lost Futures, The Pillow Friend, The Mysteries, The Silver BoughLost Futures — (1992) Publisher: When her brother dies tragically, Clare suddenly finds herself living several different lives — in a mental ward in one, doomed to a failed relationship in another, and with her dead brother in a third. LOST FUTURES thus explores the fascinating concept of alternate realities: the theory that at the point of any given choice, reality splits and continues on for each outcome. The result is a truly unique piece of fiction, one that extends far beyond the classic boundaries of the horror genre.

Lisa Tuttle Gabriel, Catwitch, Panther in Argyll

Panther in Argyll — (1996) Publisher: No one believes that there is a panther in Argyll, despite the sightings. But for Danni, the impossible is true. She has an animal spirit and can change into a panther at will. What should she do with this extraordinary power? Is it the greatest of adventures, or a terrible curse?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsGhosts and Other Lovers — (2001) Publisher: The introduction begins, “I’m fascinated by ghosts, and entertain all sorts of theories about what they really are. That hauntings are caused by the uneasy dead, by spirits unable to find rest, seems to me the least likely explanation….” Veteran fantasy and horror author Lisa Tuttle has assembled thirteen of her imaginative inquiries into the nature of ghosts and the people they visit, covering territory from gothic romance to the just plain creepy. Incisive, moving, and unsettling, GHOSTS AND OTHER LOVERS should appeal to both fans of the classic ghost story and those seeking bold new psychological fantasy.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsMy Pathology — (2001) Publisher: What if the logic of the world reflected the bizarre logic of the unconscious? Each story in My Pathology explores the insanity just below the surface of normal life — especially the madness that unites and divides the sexes. A woman’s obsession with her younger sister’s nocturnal activities centers uneasily upon the attic of their shared home, where someone or something has built a room-sized nest. A man’s desire to connect with aliens threatens his ability to form human relationships. And in the title story, a modern-day alchemist has enlisted sexuality itself into his quest for the philosopher’s stone, with uncertain consequences for the women who love him. By turns disturbing and compelling, these sixteen multi-faceted tales reprise the career of one of SF’s most emotionally insightful writers.

Lisa Tuttle fantasy book reviews: Lost Futures, The Pillow Friend, The Mysteries, The Silver BoughThe Mysteries — (2005) Publisher: Lisa Tuttle, an award-winning author, writes here of one man’s quest for a missing woman and history’s long-lasting legends of the disappeared. She blends the mysteries of our everyday lives with a look at what happens when someone disappears without leaving any clues behind. Ian Kennedy, a private investigator, has found many missing people, but now faces a case he worries he cannot solve, but knows he has to.

Lisa Tuttle fantasy book reviews: Lost Futures, The Pillow Friend, The Mysteries, The Silver BoughThe Silver Bough — (2006) Publisher: Nestled on the coast of Scotland, Appleton was once famous for its apples. Now, though the orchards are long gone, locals still dream of the town’s glory days, when an Apple Queen was crowned at the annual fair and good luck seemed a way of life. And outsiders are still drawn to the charming village, including three very different American women. Enchanted by Appleton’s famously ornate, gold-domed library, divorcée Kathleen Mullaroy has left her cosmopolitan job to start anew as the town’s head librarian. Widowed Nell Westray hopes for a quiet life of gardening in the place where she and her husband spent their happiest moments. And young Ashley Kaldis has come to find her roots, and learns that the town’s fortunes turned when her grandmother was crowned Apple Queen — then mysteriously disappeared. When a sudden landslide cuts Appleton off from the wider world — and the usual constraints of reality — the village reveals itself to be an extraordinary place, inhabited by legendary beings, secret rooms, and the blossoming of a rare fruit not seen in decades. Most unexpected is a handsome stranger who will draw all three women into an Otherworld in which luck and love will return to Appleton — if only one of them will believe.